WVSDB Dairy Barn Renovation Project

WVSDB Dairy Barn
Click on image above to enlarge; file is big.
Work in Progress


For the Community's Benefit

   This web page is posted for the community's benefit. We will not keep up to date with the project unless we are sent information to add to what we have posted. If additions and corrections are sent, we expect to keep this page as an archive of the renovation project. Your assistance is requested.


Both this web page and the project it covers are works in progress. We present information here that may be of use to those who are interested in preserving the old West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Dairy Barn. When it was built around 1929 it was a modern, high-tech structure with several innovative systems. The design apparently came from the Louden Machinery Company of Fairfield, Iowa. If you have any information or photographs or memorabilia of the barn and agriculture at the Schools, we would appreciate it if you would share that with us. All we desire is the chance to see and photograph your items; we do not wish to have them.


Working Notes:

Barn built 1929-30? see 10th Annual Report State Board of Control and Tablet article below


Louden Machinery Company

National Register of Historic Places application for the Louden Machinery Company submitted by Ohio on January 31. 1998; approved 2/22/99. It was submitted by Jefferson County Historic Preservation Commission, 520 East Sheridan Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50313-5017

1906 Established the first free barn planning service whereby farmers could get competent advice and help on the best type of barns for their individual needs. This department has planned some 20,000 barns.
1953 Louden Machinery Company ceases to be family-owned.Sold to Mechanical Handling Systems, Inc., of Detroit, Michigan.
1965 Louden Machinery Company becomes a member of the American Chain and Cable Company (ACCO) Material Handling Group.1970s ACCO changes plant name to the Crane & Monorail Systems Division of ACCO. Babcock and Wilcox, Ltd. of Britain, buys ACCO.
1987 FKI, another British firm, purchases what had become Babcock International pic. p.15-16

In 1906 the Louden Machinery Company established a barn planning service. The service of this Architectural Department complimented the company's equipment manufacturing operations. Louden architects designed farm facilities to promote more efficient use of space and labor saving devices. These plans naturally recommended use of Louden equipment Although this service was provided free of charge for standard plans, the Architectural Department also custom-designed institutional agricultural operations. A fee was charged for this service, and the department's big projects-such as Deere and Company president's Homewood Farms—lay in this field. By 1939, the company boasted that it had planned more than 25,000 barns throughout the nation and the world. pp.19-20

Page 46 of the application states that by 1920, the Louden Machinery Company had developed the following line of dairy barn equipment:


It is expected that many of these items will be found in the Barn since they were usually in the Louden designs. There is also a very modern ventilation system.

Litter Carriers
Cow stalls and fittings
Water bowls
Mangers and manager divisions
Concrete mangers and cement tools
Steel pens, gates, hinges, etc.
Miscellaneous supplies and information
Cupolas, ventilators and window ventilators
Manger and gutter drains

The Smithsonian's collection of Louden Machinery Company memorabilia was placed at her disposal. (When the firm ceased operations as a family business, many of its archives were sent to Washington, D. C., for curation.) At the Smithsonian, Betsy Burstein of the Agricultural and Natural Resources section of the Smithsonian's Museum of American History and Bill Worthington of that museum's Engineering and Industry section assisted Mellen. Mellen prepared a list of all these materials available at the Smithsonian. These materials included catalogs, photographs, and a few pieces of equipment. The extent of this material was hitherto unknown locally. Some amount of time was also required for the Smithsonian to research their records, determine what Louden materials they had accessioned, and locate the materials for public use. p.88

A number people contributed Louden Machinery Company catalogs and other company materials to the Jefferson County Historic Preservation Commission for archival deposit. p.90



(From Sixteenth Annual Report Audit of the Finances State of West Virginia 1929-30)
Building Materials $4,054.52
Lumber $2,972.87
Shingles $ 49.50
Plumbing Supplies $ 56.52
Electrical Supplies $ 102.46
Hardware $ 939.74
Paint, Oil & Varnish $ 601.56
Cement $1,076.95
Sand, Gravel & Plaster $ 115.88
Cut Stone $ 308.73
Brick $2,027.99
Tile Silo (Drew Line Co.) $ 692.55
Barn Equipment (Louden $3,662.80
Machinery Co.)
TOTAL $16,662.07
   from: WVSDBbarn presentation march 26 2012 update 2.pptx slide:#12


Article from the Tablet of March 10, 1930

Tablet article
Tablet article continued

Sources of Information:

WVSD&B 140th Celebration Presentation sept 24 2010.pptx WVSDB140ppt2010

WVSDBbarn presentation march 26 2012 update 2.pptx

WVDBS-HM-0053.pdf W.V. Historic Property Inventory Form on Barn & Agriculture at School

Louden Machinery Company NRHP application

Smithsonian Institution



  • September 29, 1870 Twenty-five deaf and five blind students enrolled the first session [WVSDB140ppt2010]
  • 1901 Farm Purchased [WVSDB NRHP application draft]
  • 1918-1919-One of the worst epidemics of influenza occurred. One hundred ninety pupils and one half of the employees were ill with Spanish Influenza. Two girls and one boy from the deaf school died here after brief illnesses. [WVSDB NRHP application draft]
  • 1919-1920 the State Board of Education is given control over the WVSDB. [WVSDB140ppt2010]
  • 1920 the Legislative Handbook and Manual states: "Subsequently, the State purchased several tracts of land lying adjacent to the original site, the last being that of the "Potomac Academy" property of about seven acres, so that the campus and adjacent holdings of the institution comprise an area of nearly thirty acres. At a distance of a half mile from the town the institution has a farm of ninety-one acres, which receives Intensive cultivation and proves a source of supply and instruction for the pupils of the schools."
  • 1923-1927 Parley DeBerry serves as Superintendent
  • Barn built 1929-30?
  • 1930 Legislative Handbook states: "The institution owns and cultivates a large farm on which are raised the vegetables for the schools. A dairy herd of thirty cows supplying milk for the institution is housed in a fine new barn constructed last year on the State Farm." [WVLHB&M&OR-1930]
  • 2020 Town of Romney expected to take title to the Barn from the Schools